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Tower deal teeters. Phone books fizzle.

   In Business Today, we'll be sorry if the deal to resurrect the Statler Towers falls through [again]. But it's unlikely too many will be morning the loss of the White Pages. I can't even tell you where my copy is. Maybe it's a doorstop on top of something that needed to be flattened.

Statler deal in jeopardy as group raises doubts - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
  A lawyer for the investment team planning to buy the Statler Towers in downtown Buffalo is raising doubts that the deal will be closed.
   "Am I confident there's going to be a closing? No," said Robert Knoer, an attorney for Mark D. Croce, Statlerlookingup after a court hearing Thursday. "There are significant hurdles at the Statler. I think everyone is acting in good faith to overcome them."
   Croce and James J. Eagan formed Statler City LLC to acquire the Niagara Square landmark. Their offer for the Statler, valued at $700,000, was accepted by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Carl Bucki in August. But under the sale agreement, they can walk away from the deal after a 60-day "due diligence" period, which expires in mid-November. ...
   Thursday's hearing dealt with a proceeding initiated in the United Kingdom involving the personal bankruptcy of developer Bashar Issa. He formerly owned the Statler through BSC Development of Buffalo, which was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2009.
   Bucki agreed to recognize a Chapter 15 bankruptcy proceeding involving Issa after gaining assurances from a lawyer in the case, Bernard Schenkler, that the Statler would not be affected.
   Chapter 15, established in 2005, pertains to bankruptcy proceedings that cross international boundaries, where a debtor has assets in multiple countries. The United Kingdom-based trustees in the Chapter 15 Issa case, represented locally by Schenkler, want to investigate other personal assets that Issa, who now lives in Dubai, might have in the United States.
   "It may be that there are no [personal] assets, I don't know," Bucki said. But the trustees in the case will now have the ability to explore the issue, he said.

Residential phone book going way of dinosaur - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
   The White Pages are going the way of the rotary-dial phone.
   Beginning in January, Verizon is dropping the residential White Pages from the directories that it will deliver to its customers.
   But the change won’t affect Verizon’s customers in Erie County for more than a year. Because the Erie County edition of the phone book comes out in December — before the change takes effect — the upcoming directory will include residential listings for one last time, said Andrew Shane, a spokesman for SuperMedia LLC, the Texas company that publishes the Verizon directory.
   The move to eliminate residential listings, approved Thursday by the State Public Service Commission, is being touted by Verizon officials as a way to improve efficiency and keep about 5,000 tons out paper out of the state’s waste stream.
   Verizon said most households don’t use the residential listings, relying instead on the Internet and other new technology. Only about 1 in 9 households still use the residential White Pages, Verizon said, citing a 2008 Gallup survey showing that use had declined from 25 percent in 2005. ...
   With the PSC ruling, the Verizon phone books now will contain only business and government White Pages, along with information pages and the Yellow Pages. Residential listings will be at www.verizon.com/whitepages. Printed or CD-ROM versions can be obtained by calling (800) 888-8448.
   Elseweb:
- The White Pages, Where Anybody Could Be Somebody - Scott Gurian/NPR
- White pages latest casualty of Internet - Teresa F. Lindeman/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- Time to Scrap the White Pages? - Leora Broydo Vestal/The New York Times

   So here is a scene that will never be repeated:

 

   [OK. All the words are backwards. I'm told it's a trick to keep the copyright police away. Whatever.]

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

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Banks | Current Affairs | Media | Real Estate | The Economy
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